Cultist AKA Cannon Fodder, Chaos Munchies, Whining Bitches, Annoying Squeakers, Edgy Fuckers and Khorne Berserker meatshields are the ragtag team/army of renegade humans, Imperial Guardsmen or peasants who have forsaken the Imperium in turn of having the freedom in indulging in extra heretical pleasure. They are considered as the eviler and spikier counterparts to the Imperial Guard. While they have smaller balls than their loyal brethren, they are still larger than the Chaos Space Marines.
(Despite being the lowliest cannon fodder of Chaos they can be dangerous. Billions of Cultists are enough to exterminate even First Founding Chapters as it was almost the fate of the Blood Angels)
All planets and civilizations belonging to the Imperium can harbor Chaos organisations, which themselves are as diverse in practice and membership as is imaginable. From the blood-soaked sacrificial cults of feral worlds to the philosophical secret societies of more advanced worlds, the temptations of Chaos can capture all. Indeed, according to the Ordo Hereticus, Chaos Cults can arise from any class of Imperial society, be it impoverished, noble, hive-gang, abhuman, soldiers, or mutant.
At first glance they are indistinguishable from normal men, but under their clothes, the flesh is tattooed and branded with sigils that hurt the eyes of any faithful who look upon them. When the Chaos Space Marines come to a planet, the true colours of the Cultists are revealed.
The objective of the Chaos cult is to survive and eventually dominate the society. Mere survival is particularly important on Imperial worlds, where Chaos worship is the greatest of heresies and Inquisitors are always vigilant and ready to wipe out any taint of Chaos.
Generally clandestine in nature, as discovery could bring with it attention from local Arbites all the way up to the Inquisition, cults often hide behind the front of some form of legitimate organization in their attempt to accumulate local or planetary power, such as trade unions, charitable organizations, accepted religious groups and even local variants of the Imperial cult.
Extreme political organizations make good fronts for cults, as they naturally attract power-hungry and mentally unbalanced individuals, which make particularly good material for potential cult members. A very successful organization can gain real political power, even gaining enough power to make it possible for the cult to become the governing body of the planet without having to resort to rebellion.
After taking root, and as it expands in power and influence, eventually the cult may end up effectively ruling anything from a township to an entire planet. Eventually, an uprising breaks out, either on purpose or because the cult has grown too large and/or unruly to remain secret any longer. At this point, the cult can be expected to summon aid from their Chaotic masters, ranging from incurring daemonic possession to summoning the Traitor Legions. Cults may also be uprising in concert with an invasion of Chaos Marines. The ultimate aim of the cult's uprising is to overthrow the Imperial government and attain direct control of the world. After the conflict, cultists are often taken back into the Eye of Terror where they either join the damned population of a daemon world or are formed up into a Chaos Warlord's armed forces.
There are many types of Cults, all of which can be seen here.
The Chaos Cultists are garbed in ragged cloaks, macabre masks and sinister-looking hoods, and display an array of intricate features from studs and straps to daggers, wires and pouches. Cultists often carry a mixture of close combat weapons and ranged weapons, including spiked maces, flails, autoguns and auto pistols.
Alternative Modeling Options
It's almost a shame that cultists are so disposable, because when it comes to modeling, converting, and proxies, cultists have the capacity to be some of the most characterful units in a Chaos army, even more so than the marines, as Cultists offer almost complete creative freedom with what they can be. Humans, mutants, xenos, whatever, if it's roughly human-sized and either has or can be fitted with a basic weapon, it'll work. Chaos has never been picky about what they use as lasbolt catchers, and cultists can represent that to the fullest.
Naturally, two of the most common/accessible cultist alternatives are inevitably Beastmen and Skaven.
With the return of Necromunda, the cultist options have expanded.
Dawn of War
""We are chaos, chaos is strong!""
In Dawn of War, Cultists are the basic scout unit/cannon fodder of the CSM (that's Chaos Space Marine for short) faction, able to go invisible and detect cloaked units, but are also squishy as hell (pun not intended). While they are pitifully weak, once they get upgrades with a Chaos Space Marine leader and grenade heavy weapons, you can kiss your ass goodbye (that is until an assault unit gets close and they're murdered in seconds as despite being a choppy scout unit; they fold like wet paper against everything else.). They appear to use a heretical variation of the standard Imperial Laspistol, but it's so fucking weak that they're better off just screaming Chaaaaaaaaarge!
(Skip to 2:00) into their enemies' faces. They're also the cheapest and most numerous (spammy) unit you can field in any CSM army, so much like in tabletop, you can also use them as a squealing meatshield for your heavy hitters.
They are infamous for their high-squeak voices sounding more in line with a constipated Mickey Mouse. Their hilarious voice acting and general weak sauce makes them prime fuel for meme-baits and also birthed this adorable monstrosity.
""Aaaah, My Spleen!""
Dawn of War 2
Dawn of War 2 took out the iconic "FOR KHAOSSS!!!!" voice with a much more grittier and manlier voice. Ironically the voice acting made the Cultists more manly than the Imperial Guard. In DOW2, Chaos Players usually equip their Cultists with Grenade Launchers for maximum Lulz. Cultists in DOW 2 became more useful now with their ability to create a ritual and build a shrine for each of the respective gods that buffs their allies and suppress their enemies.
- Khornholio - He wants tippy for his chaotic bunghole. The most infamous Cultist to date. Originated from the hammy voice acting in Dawn of War 1.
- Cultist-Chan- Another famous Cultist originating, yet again from the bizarre accent of the Dawn of War 1 Cultists.
- Lost and the Damned - When Cultists get their shit together and fight on par with the Imperial Guard.
|Forces of the Death Guard|
|Leaders:|| Chaos Lord - Daemon Prince - Sorcerer - Chaos Champion |
Malignant Plaguecaster - Plague Surgeon - Tallymen
|Troops:|| Biologus Putrifier - Blightlord Terminator - Chaos Spawn - Deathshroud |
Foul Blightspawn - Noxious Blightbringer - Plague Marines - Possessed
|Vehicles:||Chaos Land Raider - Helbrute - Plaguereaper - Predator - Rhino|
|Flyers:||Storm Eagle - Stormbird - Thunderhawk|
| Blight Drone - Defiler - Foetid Bloat-Drone |
Myphitic Blight-Hauler - Plague Hulk - Plagueburst Crawler
|Daemons:||Beast of Nurgle - Nurgling - Plaguebearer|
|Auxiliaries:||Cultists - Pestigors - Plague Zombie - Poxwalkers|
|Allies:||Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines|
|Forces of the Thousand Sons|
|Leaders:|| Chaos Champion - Chaos Lord - Chaos Sorcerer |
Daemon Prince - Exalted Sorcerers
|Troops:||Chaos Spawn - Rubric Marines - Rubric Terminators|
|Castellax-Achea Class Battle-Automata|
|Vehicles:|| Chaos Dreadnought - Chaos Land Raider |
Helbrute - Predator - Rhino - Vindicator
| Silver Tower of Tzeentch - Forgefiend |
Heldrake - Maulerfiend - Defiler
Fire Lord - Doom Wing
|Daemons:|| Flamers of Tzeentch - Horror - Screamers of Tzeentch |
Mutalith Vortex Beast
|Auxiliaries:|| Cultists - Prospero Spireguard - Thrall Wizards |
Tzaangors - Tzaangor Enlightened - Tzaangor Shaman
|Allies:||Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines|